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5 things to watch: Lions at Titans

The Detroit Lions are on the road today to take on the AFC South leading Titans in Tennessee. Detroit is looking to get back in the win column with an upset victory, while Tennessee is looking to take a big step toward securing a division title. 

Here are five things to watch out for in today's contest:


Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford suffered a rib injury late last week in the loss to Green Bay. Stafford missed practice Wednesday and Thursday, but returned as a limited participant Friday.

Stafford was listed as questionable on the injury report. He made the trip to Tennessee, and it sounds like he'll be a game-time decision today. 

"You really can't judge this because the guy is as tough as nails and he may come on Sunday – I've had it before. (Brett) Favre was out 10 straight weeks, he was going to be out again, and he walks in the day of the game and says, 'I'm going.'" Bevell said Friday. 

"Guys like that, you give it to them, and they go. I feel like he's in that same category. He could walk in Sunday and say, 'I don't care what anyone (is) saying. I'm going.' So, I'm going to let him go."

If Stafford can't go, expect veteran Chase Daniel to get the start.


Frank Ragnow has been playing at a Pro Bowl level and has taken every snap at center this year for Detroit, but Ragnow suffered a throat injury that affected his vocal cords last week against Green Bay. The injury prevented him from practicing all week, and he was downgraded from questionable to out for today's game.

The Lions have a few options to replace him. Veteran Joe Dahl has cross-trained at center, though he's never played there in a regular-season contest. Rookie Jonah Jackson could move from guard to center. The Lions have also cross-trained rookie Logan Stenberg at center as well.


Titans running back Derrick Henry leads the NFL in rushing (1,532 yards), and is looking to become just the eighth player in history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season. To accomplish that, he'll have to keep on track this week against a Lions defense ranked 29th in the NFL against the run, allowing on average 132.8 rushing yards per game. 

Henry is coming off a 215-yard, two-touchdown performance last week against Jacksonville. Twice this season he has eclipsed 175 yards rushing in a game with multiple touchdowns. The Titans run the ball 49.4 percent of the time (fourth highest in NFL).

Lions running back Adrian Peterson had a good quote this week when talking about Henry: "We have to come strapped up and ready to wrap up."


While Henry is certainly the catalyst for the Titans' offense, he's not the only skill position player the Lions have to worry about today. 

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is ranked fifth in touchdown-to-interception ratio (28-to-5) and sixth in passer rating (108.0) this season. Tannehill is one of three quarterbacks this year with more than 25 touchdown passes and five or fewer interceptions. Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes are the other two. 

Wide receiver A.J. Brown leads Tennessee with 837 receiving yards and fellow receiver Corey Davis has 835 receiving yards. Brown has nine receiving touchdowns this season. Tannehill has a 120-plus passer rating on the year when he targets both Brown and Davis, per NFL Media Research.


The Titans have allowed 387.5 yards per game this season, which ranks 26th in the league. That's second worst among teams with a winning record (Seattle: 390.3). Tennessee's defense is also allowing 273.6 passing yards per game, fourth most in the NFL. They have the fewest sacks (14) of any team in the league. 

There are plays to be made on offense for Detroit, especially in the passing game, whether it's Stafford or Daniel slinging the rock.

Running back D’Andre Swift knocked the rust off last week after missing the previous three games, and Detroit has very capable pass catchers in T.J. Hockenson, Marvin Jones Jr. and Mohamed Sanu.

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